Editor’s note: A veteran digital expert, Rick Nielsen, owner of WP Webmaster Services and TheWebTrainer outlines how business owners can answer the question: “Is your website built for profit?”
When I started my web design and web hosting agency in the late 90s, business owners would ask me: “How do I get one of those website thingies?”
Business owners began to realize the need for a website, but no one – not even the professionals who built websites – knew how to use them for profit.
In its infancy, the Internet provided space for businesses to build a brand. Most executives considered Internet space from a land grab mentality.
“Build it and they will come” was the mantra of the day. Few businesses had secured a domain name; even fewer built websites with their online name. So, if you were one of the original visionaries, when you built the site, visitors appeared.
Some things have changed. Some have not.
Today, a company website no longer serves as a business novelty. Today, a website is a must-have if a company wants to be found online.
However, the majority of business owners haven’t moved the needle on understanding how to use their site for profit, much less understand that the site is a valuable asset.
Why? Well, to put it bluntly, professionals who write, design and build websites market them to businesses as to the what you need, instead of the why you need it.
Let me explain.
Consider these website-whys to understand its business value.
The Perceived Value of Your Website.
Before working with a new client, I always ask: “What is the value of your website?”
Most say they don’t know or they spitball a number they believe to be accurate.
Then I ask: “If your website were offline for 30 days, how would it affect your business? Tell me the three things it would hurt the most.”
The number one answer: LOST SALES.
I then ask: “How many sales would you lose?” Most business owners have no idea and openly answer: “I don’t know.”
I then ask: “How much is one customer worth to you?” Very few know this number either.
That leads me to my next point.
How much should a website cost?
While this is the first question prospective clients ask, I propose that it is the least important question.
You see, a website is not a commodity or a budget line item. It is a business asset.
The most unsuccessful websites often are built exclusively on price.
In order to get maximum return on your website, you must first look at it as an investment. You must build the content, the design and the back-end functionality with the goal to increase your bottom line.
Many businesses make the mistake of building a pretty website. They want friends and piers to “ooh and aah” when they see the site.
Sorry, oohs and aahs don’t pay the bills! Customers do. Your website needs to be laser-focused on acquiring and nurturing new prospects and customers.
A 24/7/365 asset
Your website should be the tent pole at the center of your marketing efforts. It is your only asset that works 24/7/365. It doesn’t call in sick or take a day off because it needs a “clarity break” (ya, that’s a real thing).
I’m not saying you should go crazy and spend your hard-earned money. But you do need to be smart about it. Use common sense. Pick a vendor that is marketing-oriented first, designer second.
I do not recommend leasing Internet space, with website builders such as:
- Wix and
Business owners should OWN, self-host and partner with experienced webmasters who can update, secure and manage the backend of their sites.
So how do you know what you should pay?
Well, once you have determined where your website fits into your marketing and sales funnel, you should have a better idea of the elements you need for the website. These elements may include:
- Lead capture forms
- Call to action sliders
- Live chat tools
- Content to optimize the site presence within the digital ecosystem
Use your list and your funnel objectives to present to a vendor as a starting place for a buildout bid.
Determining website cost based on business value
If you get a quote from a vendor for, let’s say, $10,000, do not panic. Be calm, take a deep breath and analyze the bid. Here’s an example of how to determine the cost based on business value.
- Let’s say a new client during the first year of business with you generates $3,500.
- If your website is well thought out, designed and engineered for profit, perhaps you get enough leads to close one new customer each quarter. In one year, the website would have produced $14,000.
- In three years, you would have profited $42,000 on only 4 new customers a year.
Based on the above analysis, you decide. Is $10,000 for a website too much if you can profit $42,000 in three years? Remember, if you don’t make your website a priority, it can’t make your bottom line a priority.
Money flows where attention goes.
What does an easy-going, people-loving, 30-year veteran webmaster do when his cup runneth over with knowledge, passion and entrepreneurial spirit?
If you are Rick Nielsen, founder of WPWebmaster, you share the knowledge. You cut through the noisy Net with simple words of wisdom gleaned from lessons learned.
A digital marketing expert, Rick has written and produced hundreds of training videos on topics from WordPress (newbie through advanced levels), social media, SEO and video marketing to passive income, practical tools for business growth and creating an online business.
His devotion to coaching and training others has helped clients achieve personal and professional goals.